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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 5: Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang has questioned Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen on the authenticity of the folklore of Liu Shan Bang as opposed to the historical facts of the White Rajah in the august House today.
Chong had during the debate of the Sarawak Cultural Heritage Bill, 2019 urged members of the House to ponder as to who was the hero and villain among the significant historical figures between Sir James Brooke, Liu Shan Bang, Sherip Masahor and Rentap whose stories and folklore were part of the intangible heritage that would be preserved under the new Bill which was later psssed.
In the course of the conquest by Sir James Brooke, Chong said hundreds were killed in which there were stories from old local folks in Bau saying of innocent people being forced into the ghost cave (in Bau) and smoked to death during the period when Liu led the Chinese to revolt against the White Rajah.
Chong added that it was a very cruel part of history which had been perpetrated on the natives at that time including Liu who was born there.
Intejecting to seek clarification as to where Chong obtained the sources to the stories and how authentic they were, Idris said members should not be carried away by the folklore that were not well researched by historians or experts.
In relation, he asked if Chong would also reject the new trend of ‘Jalur Dan Jalan’ comic book coming to Sarawak.
“The objectives of the Bill was one measure to get the right things for the people, conserve and preserve not only the past based on truth but also guidance for the future,” Idris pointed out.
Chong then responded by saying: “You see Mr Speaker, this is exactly a confused person. Why, because he starts questioning all the folklore spread by words of mouth.”
“That’s why I need to put this question in this House. James Brooke and Liu Shan Bang, who is the hero, who is the villain?
Idris took over the microphone to reiterate his point on the authencity of Chong’s source.
But Chong shouted across the hall that Sarawak needed to do justice to the forefathers which was exactly why the Sarawak Heritage Council when established needed to verify the authenticity of folklore such as that of Liu.
“Now what I see is the glorification of the White Rajah (referring to the ongoing filming of Sir James Brooke’s life story),” he added.
Idris interjected again, telling Chong that he just wanted to know the folklore had been authenticated.
Chong then urged Idris to go around and ask the historians, academicians and even can visit Bau to speak to the old folks in order to get the folklore right.
An argument ensued when Chong refused to let Idris speak up. At this time, Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah interjected to ask Chong not to be dragged too far away as things done for the White Rajah (film) was mainly to promote tourism.
Karim argued that Chong argument has nothing to do with this heritage (Bill) but Chong insisted that the law should not be passed at the expanse of distorting the history which is recorded through folklore. — DayakDaily